How many websites have you shared information with? Do you use the same passwords across all your accounts? Is your home Wi-Fi password protected and unique? Ensuring you and your family’s personally identifiable information is secure online is essential to ensure your family’s safety and your financial health.
Living life in the digital age can often feel like a trade-off. Both in person and online businesses often require our personal information in return for goods and services – or quite often a special deal or upgrade! So where do we draw the line? How do we help our children manage this?
At the risk of stating the obvious, protecting your privacy starts with protecting your personal information. This includes your name, address, telephone number and date of birth. The more you share it, the greater the chance it could end up in the wrong hands! Children and teens often struggle to get this concept so weave this into conversation regularly.
Take the time to read the privacy policies of the companies you are considering sharing your details with. If your kids are considering downloading apps, encourage them to read the fine print. Make sure you are all happy and whether the trade of personal information is worth it.
Social media accounts will revert to a default setting unless you specify otherwise so invest some time here. Default settings usually allow anyone to see your profiles and access your details, so ensure your profile settings are as tight as possible. Also, work with your children to ensure their privacy settings are sorted. Why not tailor their social media accounts so that only their friends can view their photos, updates and information?
Managing passwords is one of the key ways to manage your online privacy. Passwords need to be a minimum of 8 characters with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. And remember you should ideally have a different password for every site! And just to complicate life further, these need to be changed regularly. But if all that sounds too hard (and it does!) get yourself a password manager. There is software available which helps create and manage usernames and passwords across all your devices. Phew!
Your home Wi-Fi could be putting you at risk. If your Wi-Fi isn’t password protected, you are effectively offering an open invitation to the neighbourhood! Many experts believe hackers can capture passwords, email addresses and any other data being transmitted over your network if your Wi-Fi isn’t secured. So if you haven’t already, add a password BUT do not use the default one – they can be easily Googled and found online!
We all know life is a series of trade-offs. Many think you can’t have your cake and eat it too. We all want to enjoy the best of the online world but remain safe at the same time. And while there are no guarantees, if you make smart decisions and invest a little time securing your online privacy, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying cake!
Life Education's bCyberwise module helps children learn how to stay safe online - including information on reporting cyberbullying, information sharing, and is accredited by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.